Juniata closes in on TVL title

MIFFLINTOWN – Juniata kept the win train rolling on the basketball court Friday as the girls put away Tri-Valley League opponent Millersburg, 70-24. With only four wins on the season after Friday’s contest, Millersburg didn’t present much of a challenge to Juniata, but the locals kept up their intensity throughout the contest and sent their five seniors – Carly Burns, Alyssa Parson, Kristen Pray, Joelle Winey and Maddie Zendt – home happy on senior night.

Each of the five also found her own unique way to contribute to the lopsided win.

“It was so great to see them play together. I just thought they did a great job together. To a player, they just did so many good things,” Juniata coach Meghan Geedey said.

From the start, the five took control of the game as they had a 20-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. Juniata had a notable size advantage over Millersburg, and it came through on both ends of the court. On the offense, Burns was hot under the basket for eight points. Defensively, Pray and the other guards put plenty of pressure on the perimeter, while Winey picked up several blocks under the basket.

“I was very happy with the defensive intensity for most of the night,” said Geedey, whose team put up its best defensive efforts in the second quarter, when Juniata held Millersburg to just one bucket.

Millersburg’s Brooke Shomper was the only one to score in the quarter, while Victoria Varner, Zendt, Burns, Winey and Parson all contributed to Juniata’s 18.

“We just keep preaching, we want to make a run in districts. This is all about playing our best basketball at the end of the season, and we don’t really talk a whole lot about the opponent, we just talk about playing our best each and every game,” Geedey said in reference to her team’s intensity.

In fact, in the fourth quarter Juniata kept Millersburg to a very low four points, while the third quarter was Millersburg’s only time to get out of single digits with 11. On Juniata’s end, a quarter-opening 3-pointer from Zendt highlighted the third, and five points from Janelle Swartz paced the locals during the fourth.

After the game, Geedey highlighted the efforts of Pray and Parson.

“They really got their chance tonight to shine,” she said. “Kris always handles the ball well for us, and those two fast break layups that she finished in the third or fourth quarter, that was really nice. And Alyssa did a really nice job and had a couple of really nice finishes around the basket.”

In fact, each had something nice to contribute to the game. Burns finished with a game-high 19 points; Parson scored in every quarter but the fourth for seven; Pray not only had back-to-back breakaway layups in the fourth, but also displayed consistent defense throughout the game; Winey finished after Burns with 14 points and several blocks; and Zendt was smooth on the offensive end for 13 points.

Juniata (17-2, 14-0) travels to Lancaster Country Day today, and a win would seal its second straight TVL title. To complete the regular season, Juniata will then host Upper Dauphin on Tuesday.